May 282013

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” – C. S. Lewis

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself pouring over a few books.  Some are new to me and some old.  The three I’ve found myself pondering and encouraged by most are Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies, Leeana Tankersley’s Found Art and Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines.  In each book I find myself saying, “oh good… I’m not the only one.” or tear up because their words are straight out of my heart.

As I recently found a moment to reflect on their stories, I found all these authors to have something in common.  They are the deepest and truest definition of an individual being real.

Through their writing, they share their beautiful lives with reckless abandon.  Not merely the interesting facts, but they go deeper still.  They share the truth so many of us would be too scared to tell.

All of these women have experienced times of being both far from and near to God, seeking clarity to the rawest of questions, feeling desperately alone and broken, finding God in the most unique and captivating places.

All of these women have proven themselves courageous in facing their fears and weaknesses, while defining their faith.

Among all women, these are a few of the beautiful ones.

As I went walking this morning by myself, in glorious silence, I found myself longing for more of these kinds of women in my life.  I understand, of course, not all of us will ever find the desire or ability to share our lives on this kind of level.

But this is what I crave.

I crave relationships where pretending is a forgotten way of survival.  Where we could air out our flaws, knowing judgement would not be the first response.  Where we could see how God is redeeming and making our hearts beautiful because we are honest with each other about what needs transformation.  Where we could feel less isolated and alone in facing our doubts and questions because our hearts are intertwined by bravery.

This is the beauty in choosing realness.  And it’s knee-knocking scary in the same breath.

“True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves.  We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that.  We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect.  We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us.  We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave.  But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us.  Friendship is about risk.  Love is about risk.  If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.”  – Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, (p. 50)

To me, choosing this kind of realness in relationships is like choosing to enjoy a vase of fresh peonies on my table versus a painting of peonies hanging on my wall.  I can breath in the beautiful aroma.  I can experience God’s unique creation first-hand.  I don’t have to imagine what the experience would be like.  I get to have the real thing.

Are you desiring these kinds of relationships too?  Can you be the first to be brave and share something real with a friend you trust?



© 2012 Standing on Peace